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Walter Smith: Former Rangers, Everton and Scotland boss dies aged 73

Walter Smith, who managed Scotland, Rangers and Everton, has died at the age of 73.

In two spells as Rangers manager Smith led the club to 10 top-flight titles, five Scottish Cups and six League Cups as well as to the UEFA Cup final in 2008.

He remains the club’s second most successful manager after Bill Struth.

Smith had four years in charge of Everton and two with Scotland before being enticed back to the Glasgow club.

His death comes in the same year Rangers won their first Scottish Premiership title since Smith’s final season in charge in 2011.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our former manager, chairman and club legend, Walter Smith,” the club said.

‘He embodied everything that a Ranger should be’

Douglas Park, the Rangers chairman, said: “It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers.

“He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first-team manager.

“I spoke with Walter as recently as last weekend. Even when he was battling illness, he was still able to provide advice and support. For that, I am personally grateful. I know that he continued also to maintain dialogue with senior members of staff, including our manager, Steven Gerrard.

“Walter will be sorely missed by all of us at Rangers.”

He added: “For Rangers supporters, he was much more than just a football manager. Walter was a friend to many, a leader, an ambassador and most of all – a legend.”

The Scottish FA said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the former Scotland national coach, and one of the most successful managers in Scottish football history, Walter Smith.

“The thoughts of everyone at the Scottish FA are with his friends and family at this time.”

Player, manager, chairman

The Lanark-born defender’s playing career saw him play for Dundee United in two spells either side of two seasons at Dumbarton, and it was during his second spell at Tannadice that a pelvic injury meant Smith made his first forays into coaching under Jim McLean.

Smith became coach of the Scotland under-18s in 1978 and the under-21s in 1982. He was also Alex Ferguson’s assistant at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico before becoming assistant to Graeme Souness at Rangers later that summer.

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Smith won 10 Scottish top-flight titles during two spells as manager at Ibrox

With Souness operating as a player-manager at Ibrox, Smith was the senior coaching presence on the touchline and was given the job on a full-time basis when Souness moved to manage Liverpool in 1991.

Smith continued Rangers’ domination at home and in Europe, taking the club to six Scottish top-flight titles and a domestic treble in 1992-93, the season in which the club narrowly missed out on a place in the Champions League final after finishing as runners-up in the group which was won by eventual winners Marseille.

Rangers equalled Celtic’s record of nine successive championships in 1996-97 but a poor European start to the following campaign saw Smith confirm he would leave the club at the end of the campaign to join Everton.

Smith was manager of Everton from 1998 to 2002
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Smith was manager of Everton from 1998 to 2002

His time at Goodison Park, however, was not a success and he was sacked in March 2002 before a brief spell as Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United at the end of the 2003-04 season.

Berti Vogts departure from the Scotland national side paved the way for Smith to become manager in December 2004. Despite overseeing a rise for Scotland of 70 places in the international rankings, they failed to reach the World Cup Finals in 2006 after a home defeat to Belarus.

Smith returned to Rangers for a second spell in January 2007 and was able to replicate the glory of his first spell, leading the club to three more league titles, two Scottish Cups, three Scottish League Cups and a UEFA Cup final, which they lost 2-0 to Zenit Saint Petersburg.

He had a three-month spell as Ibrox chairman in 2013 but resigned the position after infighting within the boardroom.

‘If you met Walter you liked him simple as that’




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